Nation & World

Lori Loughlin and 15 other parents face additional charges in college admissions scandal

FILE PHOTO: Actress Lori Loughlin arrives at the People's Choice Awards 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 18, 2017.  REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Actress Lori Loughlin arrives at the People's Choice Awards 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo

Actress Lori Loughlin, her designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 14 other parents were charged Tuesday in a new indictment in the national college admissions scandal, prosecutors announced.

Sixteen parents allegedly involved in the scheme, which became a symbol of the influence of money on high-stakes college admissions, were charged in a second, superseding indictment with conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering.

They had previously been charged in connection with what prosecutors have described as a scheme to fraudulently ease their children’s admission to selective colleges, using bribery to cheat on standardized exams and to falsely portray their children as athletic recruits.

The 16 defendants were arrested last month and are charged with conspiring with a college consultant, William “Rick” Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, California, and others, to bribe proctors of SAT and ACT college-entrance exams to allow another person to take the test in place of students, or to correct the students’ answers. The scheme also involved bribing coaches and athletic administrators to help get the children accepted at top universities as recruited athletes, prosecutors said.

The charges come with the potential for significant penalties: The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison with three years of supervised release and a fine of at least $250,000, according to prosecutors. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison with three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved.

A spokeswoman for Loughlin referred questions to her attorney, who did not immediately respond to messages left Tuesday seeking comment.

Loughlin, 54, is most famous for portraying the character of Aunt Becky on the television show “Full House.”

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The indictments landed a day after another Hollywood star, Felicity Huffman, and a dozen other parents acknowledged that they had used bribery and other fraud to help get their children into selective colleges. A coach also agreed to plead guilty.

In a written statement Monday, Huffman expressed “deep regret and shame over what I have done,” and said she was ashamed for the pain she had caused her daughter, friends and others. She also apologized “to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”

Her daughter knew nothing about her actions, Huffman wrote, “and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her.” That transgression, she wrote, “I will carry for the rest of my life.”

Huffman, 56, who starred in the TV show “Desperate Housewives,” agreed to pay Singer at least $15,000 to participate in the entrance exam cheating scheme for her oldest daughter, prosecutors said.

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